Monday, October 17, 2016

Meme Machine

Many amnesiacs are staring at their TVs in perpetual disbelief at the prevalence of genitalia in political discourse.  "When will this stop?" they ask, in a frozen moment of perplexity.

That snapshot of the shocked TV viewer has something of a Norman Rockwell flavor, as decorated by MAD Magazine. Lets remember the long slog through the Monica story on shock TV and radio just a few seasons back.  Horrific right?  A real nightmare for the poor girl.

We do scandal, then war, which is scandalous, then back to scandal, and so on.

What gets old first, the soaps, or the expressions of shocked amazement?  Aren't they but one and the same?  We call it the tabloid press.  There's a reason it sits there at supermarket checkout lanes, and as click bait at the bottom of each newspaper article.

However, lest I fall into my own trap, and register shocked outrage, that my neurons are being so expertly played, let me say again that the meme machine is well-oiled, and with a note of respect.

People get paid by the tweet I'm sure, in some industries.  Entertainment, i.e. show business, is one of those "must go on" kinds of things ("too big to fail").

The danger is less in having an Idiocracy than in allowing these soap operas to get so out of hand that we don't get any work done.

When will the US citizens of Puerto Rico be allowed to vote?  Not this cycle either?  When then?  Snore.  The TV viewers didn't come for that.  They came for more scandal out there in scapegoat land, not the nasty business of thinking through a problem and implementing a solution.

I think a counter to frenetic TV is to change channels.  Not all TV is like that.  You maybe expected I'd say "kill your television", but if you haven't yet, then that's maybe stale advice.

Youtube, which is TV on demand, is the same way. If your goal is to get something done, to get on with your life, then learn to ratchet forward. Challenge yourself with some worthy goals.  Learn. Study.  Don't just get outraged that the world is going to hell.

Don't get carried away by the swill we might call the "mass mind".

Have a mind of your own instead, it's worth the extra effort.

Meanwhile, in Mosul...